17 November 2011

Scottish Parliament's cycle parking takes shape

I was in Edinburgh this week, where the cycle campaign Spokes has just reported that there are more cyclists and fewer drivers in the city than ever.

It was hard for me to tell - I was too busy negotiating the tram-disaster roadworks in Princes St - but I was intrigued by these cycle racks.

They're splendidly situated in front of Arthur's Seat, which used to be a volcano; perhaps Arthur was too fond of the curried haggis.

The view the other way is the equally splendid Scottish Parliament building.

There I passed a happy hour spectating the Health and Sport Committee taking evidence on the Welfare Reform Bill legislative consent memorandum LCM(S4)5.1.

But the most distinctive thing is the shape of cycle racks, which have a touch of the MirĂ³ about them.

I wasn't quite sure how to lock my bike to any of them, to be honest.

Perhaps the absent-minded twisting of a few paper clips, during a particularly dull meeting of the Health and Sport Committee, was mistaken for maquettes of the new facility?

(Update: The mystery is partially solved by Tom's comment below... but only partially...)


  1. No paper clips, but much closer related to cycle parking as such. Try observing them from a low point where all five stands line up and together (supposedly) form the shape of ... see for yourself: http://www.flickr.com/photos/12771303@N00/12943126 (photo by Dave Morris)


  2. It all suddenly makes sense! I am enlightened... many thanks.

    But hang on... I'm on my stomach now on the floor... nope, it's not working.

    There's only one wheel. Because there are only four stands, not five!

    So it's a nice idea but, er, one wheel short of a bicycle.

    Still, it suggests all sorts of possibilities for similar perspective tricks. Particularly with rude shapes.

  3. I can kinda see how you can slip a lock through the stand without opening it...

  4. There's a phrase "it probably won an award" to describe something that looks pretty but is utterly unusable. These fall in to this category. It may be that there is a way to safely lock a subset of bicycle types to them without the locks being removable (you probably need to put your bicycle frame under the open one to prevent it)

    Each rack looks like it has its own solution, so users of the rack will have to learn and remember four different techniques -and the cost of getting it wrong will be a new bicycle.

    This is just daft. Sheffield racks may not look pretty, but they are designed to keep your bicycle there.

  5. In your first & third photos, you can see a circle on the ground in line with the others, where presumably the fifth stand (shaped like the last wheel) should be....